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Toronto ranks among the most expensive cities in the world

Posted by Robyn Urback / September 15, 2010

toronto expensive cityThis surely isn't breaking news for anyone who has more than fluttered through the city, let alone tried to rent an apartment.

A new UBS report released today ranks Toronto among the most expensive cities in the world to live in, more expensive than Paris, Los Angeles and Dubai. Excluding the cost of rent, Toronto was ranked eighth in the world, followed by Montreal.

Compared to the 2009 version of the study, both Montreal and Toronto jumped over 10 places mostly on account of the strong dollar. Speaking to the Financial Post, UBS's head of global economic research, Daniel Kalt, explained "Exchange has a big impact.... The Canadian dollar has appreciated something like 20% on the U.S. dollar."

But over and above the exchange rate, the cost of rent is a defining and problematic factor. With rent factored into the equation, Toronto comes in at ninth spot on the list, while Montreal drops behind cities like London and Dubai.

So, could this report be used as more ammunition for the cutbacks Team Ford advocates? Or is it simply another reason for all of us city-dwellers to just grit our teeth?

Photo by wvs / Sam Javanrouh in the blogTO Flickr pool



Matt / September 15, 2010 at 02:01 pm
Toronto is NOT more expensive to live in than London. The fact that Toronto leaped ten spots in one year doesn't mean it's any more expensive to live here than it was last year; it means that the report obviously uses some kind of purchasing power/cost of living/currency valuation formula which is so obtuse as to be meaingless.

Restaurants and groceries are no more expensive in Toronto than elsewhere in Canada (in fact, cheaper than Alberta and much of Atlantic Canada.) Clothes cost the same as anywhere else. Vancouver has significantly higher real estate values, and lower average incomes, which should place it much higher on this list.

I really don't think this is meaningful data unless you're a global citizen with access to some kind of trans-national currency and no need of shelter.

Dave / September 15, 2010 at 02:02 pm
Sounds like more a reason for retailers to stop Canadian mark ups on things like books, clothes and food over their American price.
Kat / September 15, 2010 at 02:14 pm

you know what 750 pounds equals in canadian dollars? $1,200. On average, I don't know many Torontonians paying that little for a non-basement 1 bedroom. I think the average here could be around 13-1,400 a month. that does not take into account parking, hydro and the like.

my family's weekly grocery cost has gone up by 50 dollars a week in the last year alone (just for two adults) and we eat mostly vegetarian and shop at local stores (no big box).

as well, this article talks more about cost of rent than purchasing a home which should be taken into account as well.

as well, BLOG TO, the post and the study's author discuss the impact of a strong dollar (on global markets) in relation to the ranking.

you may not experience it, but it's there for sure.
mark replying to a comment from Kat / September 15, 2010 at 02:22 pm
I agree completely. Matt must living in Inuvik.
Nancy / September 15, 2010 at 02:25 pm
This shouldn't be fodder for Rob Ford and his ilk, since Toronto is not over-taxed, at least not regarding property tax. When we considered moving elsewhere in Ontario, we were shocked at the amount of property tax we'd pay compared to here - for fewer services (ranging from parks to transit to community centres).

I can't speak to things such as the real estate transfer tax.

RKMK / September 15, 2010 at 02:27 pm
In 2007, I started paying $950 for a one bedroom in a building from 1963, about 500 sq ft with a micro-sized kitchen with a single sink (laundry in basement)in a slightly dodgy neighbourhood only 5 subway stops from downtown; after 2.5 years that was hiked by the landlords to about $1100/month. New job and a raise meant I could afford a slightly nicer place, but, yeah, $1300-1400 is the going rate for a one bedroom with dishwasher (that's not out at the end of the subway line/Etobicoke/Mississauga).

I remember going to see a "1 bedroom" listed at $1450 at the new Thompson hotel condo - 430 square feet, awkward layout, could barely fit a double bed anywhere in there. Shya, no.
Laura / September 15, 2010 at 02:27 pm
After living in New York City, I find it really hard to believe that Toronto ranks among the most expensive.
scottd / September 15, 2010 at 02:31 pm
This study is dubious on a lot of fronts and Vancouver's omission should immediately raise eyebrows.Junk.
Matt replying to a comment from Kat / September 15, 2010 at 02:35 pm
I'm unclear. Do you live in London or Toronto?

The average one-bedroom in TO goes is nowhere near 1,300 or 1,400, It's about $920 a month, according to CMHC. (Not in the core, mind you. That figure is city-wide. In the core you can bump it up 100 or more, but still not $1,300.) Maybe that "average" rent will get you a crappy place, but I'm sure the same holds true in London. I don't know anyone who pays $1,200 for a one bedroom in Toronto. If you do, and it's not a GREAT apartment, you're getting ripped off.

I'm living paycheque to paycheque too, subsisting on a post-university wage slave job at about $25,000 a year. So I'm not speaking from a privileged point of view. I have a $1,600 3-bedroom around College and Ossington, split with one roommate. I know I could pay less if I were less choosy about neighbourhood, etc.

I've also lived across Canada, and have never paid less for food than I do in TO. (I assume due to population density and a longer growing season, but who knows.)

Toronto's not cheap, but it's not as expensive as London. It's just not.
Matt / September 15, 2010 at 02:40 pm
I'm sorry, I'm not living in Inuvik, and using the Thompson Hotel as a benchmark is ludicrous. Of course it's overpriced.

Go on any apartment hunting website and limit your searches to one-bedrooms under 1000. Even downtown, tons of listings.
marlon replying to a comment from Kat / September 15, 2010 at 02:40 pm
gotta disagree with you Kat. I pay 1,060.00 for a two floor 1 bedroom townhouse with a dining room in Riverdale (utilities in). I don't consider it a great deal when compared to friends in the annex, beaches or king west area. The majority of my friends have nice apartments and spend between 900 and 1,200 all over the downtown core. none are basements. The 750 pounds does in no way describe the type of housing the study are talking about. There are a huge amounts of apartment buildings and basement apartments in London, I imagine those are factored in. I wish there was a similar study for Toronto housing. I bet we would find Toronto is less, but for now your guess is as good as mine.
Dalton McGuinty / September 15, 2010 at 02:42 pm
Obvious solution: triple all taxes
marlon replying to a comment from Kat / September 15, 2010 at 02:48 pm
also, work in a building in etobicoke (part of toronto) 2 bedroom $1094.00 (all in with cable) 830 sq ft, I don't consider it competitive.
mm / September 15, 2010 at 02:54 pm
I've just moved back from living in London for a year, and having spent a solid 2 months looking at flats for rent, i can honestly tell you there are no flats for 750 GBP and definitely not on the tube line! London was an expensive city to live in, and i'm happy to be back to my more affordable daily life in Toronto!
KL / September 15, 2010 at 02:54 pm
Torontonians are housepoor. That's why everything seems expensive.
RKMK replying to a comment from marlon / September 15, 2010 at 02:57 pm
I suppose I should qualify my above post: my search area had to be within a 40-minute walk to work (downtown), as I don't drive or have a car, and I needed to be able to get to work even when the TTC is having a massive breakdown. Yeah, I could live in Etobicoke. And when transit gets FUBARed, I'd be totally stranded.

(Also: I personally refused to have a commute longer than an hour. I only get so much time to myself in day, and I don't want to spend 3 hours of it just killing time going back and forth.)
Sean / September 15, 2010 at 02:58 pm
Most expensive = HST
KingPete / September 15, 2010 at 03:03 pm
Without any data (the best way to argue, btw), I 100% agree with Matt. Has anyone been to London? There's NO WAY it's cheaper than Toronto. And that's including the recent plunge of the British Pound (and surge of Cdn $). My experiences in Vancouver, and my friends living there (who moved from Toronto) also concur that Van City has a higher cost of living.
Kat replying to a comment from Matt / September 15, 2010 at 03:14 pm
I don't find that average for those of us without transport who, say can't afford the time to commute for more than 30-40 minutes each way to work and back. My husband and I live within a modest budget, but as I said, even things like groceries are getting out of hand.

We live in a 790 square foot flat and were looking to expand as our family is growing - a 2 bedroom that is only 850 square feet for 1800+ hydro is the average we found. We looked for months (across the city, btw) before deciding to stay put as it wasn't worth the extra 500+ a month for us whe we'd be down to one income for a year.

add 300 a month for metropasses, 150 for telecommunications (and no frivolity - we don't pay for cable etc) and an increase to 600 a month for groceries...I'd say that's pretty damned expensive.
marlon replying to a comment from RKMK / September 15, 2010 at 03:19 pm
I understand your situation but ttc really does get a bad rap. I live in the east end of toronto and commute to the west end of etobicoke. I take the ttc every day. My commute to work is never more than an hour. I'm being honest.
HUK replying to a comment from Dave / September 15, 2010 at 03:29 pm
The reason why retailers charge more in Canada is because we have fewer people shopping here for goods. Critical Mass; Badda bing, badda boom.
Matt replying to a comment from Kat / September 15, 2010 at 03:29 pm

I don't have transport either. (If by that you mean a car.)

I'm not trying to say you're wrong, but I really have to question where you've been looking. $1,800 a month is way above average for a two-bedroom. 1,100 is average (though that includes basements and dumps, and I wouldn't want to see what a two-bedroom apartment downtown looks like for that little. But again, the London average you quoted above includes dumps and basements too.)

1,500 two-bedrooms are abundant, even centrally. Where do you live now?
Josh replying to a comment from Kat / September 15, 2010 at 03:38 pm
I travel to London quite often and I stay with my friend. He lives in a ~500 sq foot flat in Central London, pretty crappy, and pays 300 pounds a week. He told me that this is actually a deal.

My friend use to live outside of Central London, rent was only slightly cheaper.

Grocery shopping was fairly expensive, I went to the local Tesco, which is like in between Metro and No Frills. Entertainment, dining out, alcohol, travelling, fruits and vegetables were more expensive in London

Tracey / September 15, 2010 at 03:43 pm
1200-1300 average for a 1 bedroom in the areas I would like to live in. Any lower and all you'll get are basement apartments, which also go for 900-1100. Expensive? Yes.
Adam replying to a comment from Tracey / September 15, 2010 at 03:47 pm
Then clearly you like to live in exclusive areas. Don't complain that your expensive tastes are expensive.

Also, it's only expensive if your point of comparison is, I dunno, Kitchener or something. If your point of comparison is London UK, it's an eye-popping deal.
Frank / September 15, 2010 at 03:52 pm
I live at Yonge/Eglinton in a very nice one bedroom unit in a clean, safe building on a quiet residential side street. $950 a month. Sounds like some of you didn't bother looking hard enough.
james replying to a comment from Adam / September 15, 2010 at 03:54 pm
exactly! there are soooooo many great neighbourhoods all over this fine city with decent above ground one bedrooms for under a grand. this girl is a complete snob and actually has the balls to then complain about the prices that are attached to her snootiness. people like her are the problem.
maggie / September 15, 2010 at 04:02 pm
having lived in the UK for 5 years and planning to move back to London next year for shits a giggles, i can attest the London is one hella pricey city.

i expect to spend no less than 250 pounds/week for a one-bedroom, plus council tax, which is usually an extra 75 pounds/month or depending on your area. basically i'm gonna come home broke. which is way more expensive than my killer 2 bedroom, third floor apartment in the annex. with a dishwaher and deck. $1200 + utilities people. i dunno who's ripping the rest of you chumps off, but serves you right.

there are, however three things that are cheaper annnd better in london:

international travel
RKMK replying to a comment from james / September 15, 2010 at 04:05 pm
Uh, she really didn't specify any specific criteria for living wherever, so "complete snob" is a bit of a jump.
maggie replying to a comment from maggie / September 15, 2010 at 04:11 pm
oh and cell phone plans are cheaper!

(note to self proof-read before posting)
james replying to a comment from RKMK / September 15, 2010 at 04:16 pm
'1200-1300 average for a 1 bedroom in the areas I would like to live in'

kind of implies that anyone paying less simply has low standards. perhaps 'complete snob' is harsh but the point remains
bob / September 15, 2010 at 05:06 pm
those hugs are only for residences of the bridle path (they are a bit classier)
bob / September 15, 2010 at 05:08 pm
The study fails to acknowledge that Ontario's minimun wage is higher than that of many other major cities.
jamie / September 15, 2010 at 06:02 pm
london is more expensive. But there is also way way more money there (for some). property values in toronto and in montreal have been inceasing dramatically + the canadian dollar has risen by so much. I have no idea how people on minimum wage survive here, let alone london.
infernalmachine / September 15, 2010 at 06:24 pm
the study considers average income, plus a "basket of goods and services" (groceries, utilities, probably things like repairs, restaurant meals etc)

if you take toronto's average income, it's pretty damn low compared to the cost of housing, rent, and groceries.

granted, not everyone who lives in NYC or london makes a bag of money but there are more people who make more money in those cities, which (semi) justifies their higher rents.

not so in toronto - hence why we rank higher than london, singapore, hong kong, etc.

n / September 15, 2010 at 06:25 pm
actually it does not matter what city is more expensive, but how much you earn. so the average salary should be taken into consideration. so, it's all relative. also, need to take into consideration food, utilities, entertainment and so on.

i am living in very small bachelor apartment near y/e and paying $970. I think when i looked 1b here went for $1100 and 2b for ~$1200.
Matt replying to a comment from infernalmachine / September 15, 2010 at 06:42 pm
Actually, Toronto has a very high average income. Much higher than Vancouver, which is why it's weird that Vancouver is not part of this study. Vancouver has higher rents/property values and lower incomes. Clearly much less affordable than TO.

Anyway, I really don't think this study is very meaningful. There are a million of these surveys and studies and they all have wildly different conclusions because the methodology is always different.
Tracey replying to a comment from james / September 15, 2010 at 07:20 pm
Hey. I'm a professional working single woman. I'm only talking about being downtown. I need to be near a subway line and within walking/riding distance of groceries, libraries, etc... I don't drive so this is a very important factor. I don't pay that much for where I am right now. But I'm also living in a hobbled together one bdrm apartment in a shabby house. I'd just like to see well-designed affordable housing in the downtown core. And I'm comparing the cost of rent to Vancouver.
Tracey replying to a comment from RKMK / September 15, 2010 at 07:23 pm
Thanks RKMK. I'm just saying that I would like to see well-designed, affordable housing in the downtown core. I don't pay close to that where I am now, but where I am now is a hobbled together one bdrm in a shabby house. If I'm going to pay rent to someone I'd like to at least live in a nice place.
Gerard / September 15, 2010 at 07:42 pm
Complaining that someone is snob when you don't know a thing about them is a bit pinheaded, no? Also, calling someone a girl is, unless you happen to know that she's under 18 or so, pretty presumptuous and rude.
bullring / September 15, 2010 at 07:57 pm
The gravy trains are out of control in this city.
o.k / September 15, 2010 at 08:05 pm
The price of food is really what bugs me here. Only staples are able to be bought cheap anything else will bleed your wallet. I cant even afford to eat organic.. out of my price range. I try to shop for Ontario foodstuff because they taste way better IMO but even local stuff is prices out for me as well.

This list is useless and only for companies to muse and hum over. if a firm is choosing between a list of desirable large and mega cities it will be pricey as hell regardless where they settle. These list must be great for mid sized cities to make a pitch for there affordability compared to the big dogs like London, Chicago, Paris, Toronto etc.
Sasha / September 15, 2010 at 08:06 pm
Its $5 just to play board games here!!!!
electric / September 15, 2010 at 08:19 pm
Hah, Toronto... $6 for a stick of deodorant in Melbourne, AU

Why does Toronto still stink when it's so cheap! :D
Canterbury Tail / September 15, 2010 at 09:10 pm
Speaking as someone who came from the UK 3 years ago, I must say Toronto is nothing like as expensive as London. #750 in London will get you nothing, and even if you could find it you'd be 10 miles from the city centre and living in 250-300 square feet. I see complaints here about $1800 for 850 square feet. Just FYI 850 square feet is larger than most 3 bedroom houses in the UK. I lived in a 720 sq ft one for 7 years, and it was considered a decent size. And that was 40 miles from London. Compared to where I lived the cost of general living in Toronto is about 2/3 the price of UK outside of London. About 1/3 to 1/2 that of London. Excluding property prices (change the dollar sign to a pound sign and add about 20%), and stupid things like fuel at nearly $2 a litre.
zappa / September 15, 2010 at 09:13 pm
It is not expensive...The fact is that everyone here stole money from us...from Gov. applications to street food...we a cheated everysingle way!
asd / September 15, 2010 at 09:16 pm
Gabe / September 15, 2010 at 11:03 pm
Do you think Bruce Springsteen is gonna play the the Horseshoe tonight?
gr1 replying to a comment from Gabe / September 15, 2010 at 11:19 pm
Jordan / September 15, 2010 at 11:20 pm
London is more expensive than Toronto in about every way possible, to argue otherwise is ludicrous. You could not get a one bedroom or studio in london for anywhere near what we pay in Toronto. As an example - I currently pay about the equivalent rent I did in the UK, while I was there it afforded me a tiny room in 3 room apartment sans living room, in Toronto I get my own pretty much brand new bachelor apartment with a pool and gym. It also costs about twice as much for a tube pass. Also - they really gouge you on apples over there, I remember it was something like 8 dollars canadian for 4 apples!

Paul replying to a comment from o.k / September 15, 2010 at 11:46 pm
Tell me about it! Metro is the only thing near me.
~$4 for a sweet red bell pepper (WTF?!), Milk that's 1.50 to $2 more expensive than No Frills, Cabbage $3-4, etc. On top of that, the selection of products isn't all that great.

And downtown its hard to get a take-out meal for under $7. I mean a simple Burrito (wrap, beans, rice, meat, etc.) can cost up to or over $10. Its nuts.
Ryan / September 16, 2010 at 12:07 am
As someone who just returned from Vancouver, i cannot believe that Toronto ranks as more expensive. I would be curious what items were used to compare living costs. Everything there except electricity cost more than in Toronto- in fact i'm delighted to see how far my dollars stretch.
James replying to a comment from Tracey / September 16, 2010 at 12:20 am
I apologize for calling you a snob I must have misread the tone of your comment. You need to look a little harder a well designed one bedroom apartment downtown with the amenities you seek for under 1100 really isn't that difficult
gadfly / September 16, 2010 at 07:59 am
It seems we are (as usual) getting lots of feedback from the underachievers or the under 25 year olds, which surely only represent 30-40% of this city. I see little mention of mortgages in this thread or parking or the cost of insurance, so I can only surmise nobody partaking in this thread has or can afford any of these. I am not trying to be nasty, but when you have 2 or 3 kids, a mortgage and 2 cars, your perspective tends to be somewhat different. Those views are not represented here, which is why blogger sites tend to be so one-sided and predictable.
It's not like this study was done in a vacuum. Dozens of these come out every year and they are pretty consistent about one thing: Toronto ranks amongst the most expensive cities in the world - that is something we should all be outraged about. With all the abundant land, water and resources we have in Ontario, let alone the rest of Canada, the fact that we are in the same leagues as Paris, London, New York, etc. is a farce! I doubt many people on this thread have travelled much, but let me say, the more you do, the smaller and more ridiculous Toronto becomes.
I've been flamed for saying this before, but I will repeat it because I stand by it: Toronto has L.A. traffic, New York prices, transit that would be the envy of a 3rd world country and taxes to rival Scandinavia. Not all of these issues are Council's fault or even within their realm to fix, but this city is circling the drain and while the usual suspects cry about lack of bicycle lanes and free Metro Passes for students, real issues are going to implode this city like a bug on a windshield.
agentsmith / September 16, 2010 at 08:26 am
Far too many of you folks missed one key phrase in this article: "EXCLUDING THE COST OF RENT".
bullring / September 16, 2010 at 08:50 am
As I renter, if I exclude the cost of rent, my cost of living is probably $400 a month max, and $300 of that is food, and food is expensive everywhere. and I live downtown. Right downtown.
LOL replying to a comment from gadfly / September 16, 2010 at 09:22 am
Gadfly is so angry for someone who claims to have achieved so much
Matt replying to a comment from gadfly / September 16, 2010 at 09:48 am
For christ's sake, Gadfly, you're not a better person because you have a mortgage and couple of kids. You sound like a smug prick.

Rent tends to be commensurate with property values, meaning that mortgages in London/Paris/NYC are higher than Toronto, along with rents. If you think Toronto has New York prices (at least as far as real estate) your perspective is warped.

Toronto is not one of the most expensive cities in the world. It is quite cozily in the middle of the price rankings, pretty much where it is in all other respects. If you believe otherwise, you are ignoring facts. FACTS.
Josh replying to a comment from Paul / September 16, 2010 at 10:26 am
@Paul, I go to lunch at Mercatto on Toronto Street. I buy a large pasta with a small salad for $9.85. I share this with my friend and I have left over for Dinner. I save the left over and after work I cook some chicken breast and have that with the left over pasta. Try that sometime, 2 meals for 2 people almost under 10 dollars.
M replying to a comment from Tracey / September 16, 2010 at 10:35 am
I understand what you're saying Tracey. It took me a long time to find my gem of an apartment in High Park (main floor, renovated in 2006, utilities included, laundry in basement, 950$) and I haven't left since then. I think what people can be saying in a much less crass way is that expanding the boundaries of your search might find you something more along the lines of what you're looking for, that won't cost you an arm and a leg, is in Toronto proper, and is still very accessible by transit.
Adam replying to a comment from Paul / September 16, 2010 at 11:32 am
Food costs the same here as everywhere. Less than in many places. If you don't like Metro, go to No Frills. If No Frills is too far away, consider what it would be like to live in a cheaper community, probably a less urban one, where you couldn't get to so much as a corner store without a private vehicle.
Rachel / September 16, 2010 at 12:11 pm
Greetings from down under! Melbourne is ridiculously expensive (Sydney and Auckland got mentioned in the article) and as much as I enjoy living here, the livability that the city flies as a banner over itself is largely dependent on the cafe and culinary culture of the city. Cocktails here can cost an easy $20. TWENTY DOLLARS FOR A COCKTAIL. For real.

Toronto is waaaaay cheaper, I think, because of its proximity to the US. Australia highly encourages buying Australian products but it's just easier and cheaper for Canada to import all the American goods. It makes a huge difference in buying everyday things.

Re: London. In 2001, I learned that everything in the UK is priced the same as in the States, it just simply had a £ instead of a $ at the front.

I'd also like to point out how relevant it is how much people are paid where they are. It's obvious to mention it but minimum wage in the UK is like £5.50 and in Australia it's at least $14, but most people won't take a job unless it's upwards of $18. That said, when you make $18 an hour, going for a $18 cocktail isn't so bad, but still hefty.

And then there are all the social benefits of the national and municipal governments, so...
gadfly / September 16, 2010 at 12:39 pm
LOL - not angry, just observant. Since when is the cost of a cocktail a barometer on cost of living? Good grief! Cocktails are $2 in Brazil, but vitamins are $25 (adjusted for current currency fluctuations.) Any economy based on imported goods (like Canada is rapidly becoming) is going to be hostage to foreign powers.
For the record, I don't have a mortgage or kids, but more people in this city do than those who are renting and don't have kids.
But, hey - let's have this debate degenerate into another 'suburbs/cars = bad; downtown/bicycles = good' debate. Facts are much more uncomfortable than hurling insults.
tirony / September 16, 2010 at 01:59 pm
The examples of low rent in Toronto that people are giving sound very "off". I was searching for a new place for this November and there are no decent 1 bedroom apartments for under $1000 unless you have some sort of "hook up".

Are the "nice" apartments with low rent that people are referencing apartments that are newly moved into? Are they apartments that were passed on from other friends or family? As someone who was recently searching and got a "hook up" through a friend I am paying $1125 for a main floor one bedroom at Ossington and Bloor. The landlord wanted to charge $1300 but my friend talked him down.

This study is talking about the last year and there has definitely been a huge hike since i was last looking. The apartment I am leaving is a small one bedroom in a 100 year old complex and that was $1000 at Lansdowne and Bloor.

tina / September 16, 2010 at 04:14 pm
You guys are all lame, stop comparing rents and stuff
Theres still be people living everywhere.
It's just a perferance that matters, if it a bit more expensive here then you work you're ass more.
And I prefer living in Toronto over London, cause it more suitable for me.
tina / September 16, 2010 at 04:15 pm
plus toronto has condos, like a lot of expensive ones, not everyone lives in ghetto ass apartments here
tirony replying to a comment from tina / September 16, 2010 at 04:20 pm
Apparently the people who don't live in "ghetto ass apartments here" have terrible grammar.

If you don't care "IF YOUR/OR SOME CITY IS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN OTHERS?", then why read this article?

james replying to a comment from tirony / September 16, 2010 at 04:29 pm
be nice. she is clearly retarded.
kat replying to a comment from Matt / September 16, 2010 at 04:45 pm
late to reply! sorry!

we live in the west end and have looked from bathurst to kipling, the lake to north of st. clair and for 1500 + utilities we've found the same square footage or a bit more (Say 100 square feet) for a 2 bedroom. there are also a lot of "two bedroom" units that are, in fact, one bedroom plus hallway nook. there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there. we have friends that pay 1400 for a 2 bedroom at queen and niagara but they have so many issues with maintenance, neighbours, noise etc that they are looking to move.

i'm not willing to commute 1 hour+ a day to live in deepest etobicoke, where, often, without a car, grocery shopping is near impossible (big box grocery stores etc).

also keep in mind that cost of living has gone up (even more so because of HST this year) but salaries are not. we've definitely felt the hit and have a better family income than we did 2 years ago.
Ruthless / September 16, 2010 at 06:23 pm
Born & raised Canadian, moved to London UK years ago. Toronto is more expensive when you take into consideration the salary that you can earn in the UK to Canada vs consumer products, etc. Whenever I come back for a visit I find things more expensive in T.O. than London. A nice 1 bedroom flat in good neighborhood would buy you a small house in Toronto. You can find affordable places in London to rent too. London's far cooler so cool factor wins ;)
Matt replying to a comment from kat / September 16, 2010 at 06:52 pm
That's too bad. I do wish you more luck in the future! No disagreement there re loads of unscrupulous landlords (and realtors) out there. But they're in any city.

My girlfriend just found a gorgeous and large-ish twp-bedroom just north of High Park for 1400 all inclusive. And I love my 1600 three bedroom in Little Italy. So they're out there.

Again, gotta disagree with Ruthless. There's the salary you CAN earn in the UK and the salary most people DO earn. Anyway, since all the other former London dwellers seem to disagree with you, I'll defer to them.
m replying to a comment from Ruthless / September 16, 2010 at 06:55 pm
way to make sense ruthless
Simuls / September 16, 2010 at 09:12 pm
This comparison is the same one that is ridiculously skewed each year and is worthless. The methodology is shoddy because they use exchange rates to try to "equalize" the playing field. This is extremely poor logic and Rachel's example shows us why. With the exception of air travel, there is nothing, and I mean NOTHING cheaper in London. Not drinking, not eating out, not groceries, not rent, not taxis, not public transit. I'd guess both London and Paris, especially when including rent - an equal distance from downtown, would be at least twice as expensive, if not more.

I've had 4 friends return from moving to Vancouver and one of the reasons each of them cited was the one of the same reasons I left (beside it being just plain old boring), and that it was way too expensive - even ignoring rent. Groceries are at least 35-50% more, gas more, eating out more, drinking out more and when it comes to travel, if you think you're in a bind here in Toronto when we're so close to NY, Boston, Philly, and respectively, Europe, just try finding a decently priced flight to anywhere but Las Vegas or Los Angeles. Even flights to Asia are only about $200 more from Toronto.

People who complain about Toronto being expensive are fools. You can live here, quite comfortably, as a single person, on minimum wage.
mark / September 17, 2010 at 01:16 pm
The HST problem is solvable.
Look at the residents of BC. They actually convinced the government to have a referendum on the tax! People in Ontario are way to complacent to do anything like that.
We'll just keep on paying, and when they raise taxes and prices, we'll just keep paying more.
Instead of complaining about how the cost of living is so expensive, do some thing about it!
Otherwise, just shut it and keep paying up.
morgan / September 21, 2010 at 05:10 am
gadly nailed it. i left toronto 7 years ago to the UK after 30 yrs of my life living downtown, south of bloor. i don't think the majority of torontonians realise just how much as a pure percentage of their earnings they commit to basic living costs... i think if you crunch the numbers you see that it's pretty brutal when compared to a lot of other places. the uk might appear expensive (particularly london) but when you start looking at what the dollar is worth now and how costs have spiralled upwards (in toronto) over the past decade in comparison to those same factors in the uk over that same time, you'll see that you folks are getting butchered in many many ways. groceries in toronto? grossly overpriced for an average weekly shop... i don't mean bits here and there (like apples) but overall, it's not fair value. £20 quid here will easily buy ya ingredients for a premium home cooked meal, incl 2 bottles of GOOD wine. about 3 bags of stuff. that same $32 in toronto would struggle to get you just the wine.

it would take too long to list all the various aspects that make it cheaper to live here... but i know that living on $60K in toronto is nowhere near as enjoyable living on £37K here. travel is accessible (and i mean global travel, and more than once a year!!!). more time off work (paid). much lower property tax. lower university fees. used car market is there. and virtually everything you can buy, you can buy "on offer" (on sale) every single day AND have it delivered to your home for free, anywhere in the country.

toronto is a very inward looking place and for the most part, is largely overlooked by the rest of the planet. sure peeps have heard of it and regard it highly, but it doesn't really have much impact. trust me. a great city in many ways (ethnically, aesthetically, creatively) but it isn't the centre of anyone else's universe. having come back a few times over the years and seen it changing, it astounds me to think how peeps there keep on spending and buying even though things have leaped in price (retail) dramatically over a relatively short time... it is like they don't notice how that cumulative cost is doing to their overall ability to enjoy a good life (save, travel, eat, dine, shop, etc). It's shrinking and most folks can't see it.
Travis replying to a comment from morgan / September 21, 2010 at 08:53 am
"£20 quid here will easily buy ya ingredients for a premium home cooked meal, incl 2 bottles of GOOD wine. about 3 bags of stuff"

I find this way off, what are you buying salad? even then fruits and vegetables are way more expensive in London. Also inlcuding 2 bottles of GOOD wine; from what I remember, depending on deals wine goes for 4-7 pounds for cheap to average.
Adam / October 31, 2010 at 07:44 pm
As someone who is from London, lived there 5 years, for Toronto to be ranked more expensive makes this entire study a farce in my eyes. I live downtown in toronto, in a one bed, for 1,600.. I get gym, pool and a newish apartment. To get these amenities in central London would cost, at least, 3,000 uk pounds. Factor in the exchange rate and you will see there is a pretty large gap.

Excluding rent as the article states, public transport is more expensive in London, eating out is comparable, drinks more expensive in Toronto, cinema far more expensive in London.

When it comes to owning a home, London is about double the price, if you want to live within a 45 minute commute of the city centre.
Matt Number 2 / November 13, 2010 at 04:03 pm
As somebody that just moved from London, to Toronto, I have noticed that groceries are pretty expensive here. To take a couple of staples, milk, butter, cheese, bread and ketchup ('s a staple for me) are around 50-75% more expensive than in London, but there are some things significantly cheaper here, like Tofu. Also, cable TV, phone and internet are around 2-3x the price in TO as London. In England I had satellite TV with 300 channels, unlimited internet and phone line for approx $45.

However, rent in Toronto is significantly cheaper than London. I'm renting a one bedroom in Yorkville for $1550, which is exactly what I was paying for a similar sized apartment in England. The only difference is that in England I was living a 40 minute drive from downtown London, whereas in Toronto, I actually am downtown. If I were to rent a similar sized one bedroom apartment in downtown London, I would be paying at least $4000 (here's an example to blow your mind :);utm_content=featured_listing and not have any of the facilities that I have in my condo, such as gym and swimming pool. These were all additional expenses I had in England (around $70 for gym)

Renters in England also have to pay 'council tax', which for a one bedroom is around $170 every month, pus TV Licence fee and water and sewerage rates.

The fact I have to pay $30-40 a week extra for groceries and expensive internet isn't that bad all things considered.
MingoMongo / February 1, 2011 at 01:26 pm
I never have a problem finding good affordable apt's in TO.

What I have issue with is the real estate market. You have to be making 6 figures to afford anything other than a small condo.
Tim / February 14, 2011 at 09:24 pm
I'm thinking this study is taking into not only expenses, but the disposable income required to fund those costs. I just came back from Singapore visiting a friend who had moved there from Toronto. I found Singapore very expensive, but my friend says he's saving much more there because his same job is paying 35% more but more importantly his tax rate is 10% vs. 40% here in Toronto. So his take-home pay is huge compared to here and he's living large there.

I don't think anyone is saying Toronto on an absolute basis is more expensive than NYC, London, etc. but when on average your take-home pay is 30-50% more than in Toronto, while costs are 5-25% more mean you still come ahead. And as a lifelong Torontonian, I don't think anyone would deny costs here have soared in recent yrs from taxes, etc. I've been multiple times to all the so-called "global cities" (Tokyo, NYC, London, HK, etc) and let's be honest, what you get in those cities is worth a premium...and now that premium is shrinking and actually reversed if you actually work there. The best apples-to-apples comparison is probably Chicago and that city is amazing and cheaper. (and yes anyone would agree that Vancouver is more $$$ especially since they have lower incomes, but then again Vancouver is considered the most over-priced city in the world!)
le chacal / May 11, 2012 at 06:45 pm
fuck toronto fuck rob ford and fuck america
Other Cities: Montreal